With the Farm Bill narrowly passing through
the house recently, it’s important to understand how some provisions may affect you and your community. Typically conservative, both The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Farmers union, urged lawmakers to vote against the bill. However, the legislation passed 216 to 208, and here are our 3 key takeaways from the newly passed bill:
1. Food Stamps and Local Food Banks
The most widely discussed and debated piece of the legislation revolved around the absence of any mention of food stamps. Historically, the farm bill covered budgeting for the above topic. This absence
has been attributed to efforts in making the bill more appealing for conservative support (all but 12 Republicans backed the bill). Mentions of a stand-alone nutrition bill have been entertained but specifics have not been stated.
In contrast, food banks were addressed in the nutrition title by increasing support for food bank efforts. This provision will increase funding for The Emergency Food Assistance Program, a program in place to help appendage the diets of low-income families.
2. Commodity Titles
The commodity title involves direct payments, counter cyclical payments and loans, and is historically the most deliberated and controversial piece in the legislation. The new farm bill eliminates this title, which in the past has paid farmers regardless of yield or market price/conditions. Opinions of this provision vary from strongly in opposition to justifiably for it. Those in favor of the elimination of the commodity title reference the increased security of crop insurance as a more suitable ‘safety net’ for farmers.
3. Crop Insurance
The new provisions to the crop insurance section of the legislation add increased funding and enhanced requisites for receiving insurance. One requisite newly in place requires farmers to follow conservation programs and ensures environmental protection
measures have been taken on their land. The increased funding for crop insurance programs comes out of the commodity title, tying these two issues closely together.
For a bill that is usually a bipartisan effort, this newest renewal of the farm bill raised controversy and disagreement between the two parties. Will this new farm bill be affecting you and your community? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.